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Boston Hospital Rescues Abandoned Records

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Kay Lazar of The Globe in Boston reports in an article appearing on April 3rd that a local hospital stepped in to take custody of hundreds of patients whose medical records were about to be destroyed, after their family physician abruptly closed his Acton practice and left the records in legal limbo. 

The records were reportedly slated to be destroyed by a local storage company that had been retained to clean out a doctor’s office.  The article says he had let his medical license lapse. 

The article also points out that the case exposes a gap in the law about who owns abandoned medical records. Most former patients have no idea that their records were slated for destruction; none had been notified, nor does the law require such notice. No state agency has the responsibility of tracking down patients or retrieving their abandoned records if their physician closes shop. 

In related news, in autumn of last year, NAID participated by invitation on a committee pulled together by the Chief of the California Office of Privacy Protection, Joanne McNabb to confront this issue.  The result of the work is AB 1094 now before the state’s legislature.  If passed, it would be the first in the US.  It draft legislation can be viewed at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov

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